U.S. Ambassador to Singapore Kirk Wagar said on Tuesday that Singapore, Japan and Vietnam wanted to move ahead with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal.
Wagar made the comments despite U.S. president-elect Trump saying that he planned to cancel the deal within his first 100 days in office.
“Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said to me that we are passing it no matter what, as is (Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo) Abe, as is Vietnam,’’ Wagar said.
Wagar believes that some tweaks will still render the trade deal valid, adding that the United States would continue to believe in Asia as a marketplace, and Singapore as a platform into South-east Asia.
“The concept that a trade agreement is a be-all and end-all is insane, given our engagement so far in Asia we’ve been doing this model without a trade agreement,’’ he said.
Wagar made the remarks at the [email protected] forum organised by the National University of Singapore’s alumni relations office, attended by 350 guests.
It is Wagar’s final public appearance before he steps down when the new Trump administration takes office this month.
“Trade helps, not hurts in this era of connectivity, no one country can do it alone: it has to be from different perspectives,’’ he said.